Ronnie Oneal to allow attorneys to represent him during penalty phase

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Riverview man convicted of murdering his girlfriend and daughter is facing the death penalty for their brutal killings.

Ronnie Oneal told the judge Tuesday that he will allow attorneys to represent him during his sentencing hearing.

On Monday, jurors found Oneal guilty of murder in the March 2018 deaths of Kenyatta Barron and their 9-year-old daughter Ron’Niveya Oneal.

The 32-year-old remained stoic as the jury read the verdict. He was more animated during closing arguments.

“You don’t know what happened to my daughter, but you better believe I know what happened to my daughter and that’s why Kenyatta Barron is dead,” Oneal told jurors.

He admitted to killing his girlfriend, claiming it was because she murdered their child and had tried to kill their son.

“I did kill Kenyatta Barron but I want you to tell it like it is if you’re going to tell it,” Oneal said.

But according to prosecutors, Oneals account of the killings don’t add up.

After a week of explosive and emotional testimony, it took the jurors just over four hours to reach a verdict.

Oneal was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for his daughter and girlfriend’s death, and attempted murder for stabbing his son. He was also found guilty of two counts of aggravated child abuse and for setting the family’s home on fire.

Oneal, who acted as his own attorney, was complimented by Judge Michelle Sisco for his efforts.

“I have to tell you in another lifetime you would have been an excellent lawyer,” she said.

Sisco warned against Oneal representing himself during the upcoming penalty phase of the trial.

“As we move into penalty phase I’m really going to strongly encourage you to consider counsel to step in and now represent you,” the judge said.

Oneal’s sentencing, which will likely include victim impact statements, is set for Wednesday. He faces the death penalty.

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